Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Flashback: The Bestest Christmases Ever!

I've had a special request from---no names puh-leese---to re-run my last year's Christmas post, and so. . .
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The following Christmas memory is from my memoir, Early Plastic, a terrific stocking stuffer and guaranteed to freak out everyone on your Christmas list.
“Fade in; time, Christmas Eve - 1963; location, the corner of 6th Avenue and Eighth Street in New York’s Greenwich Village; place, the Women's House of Detention, an ominous dark fortress (alas, no longer there) out of the Middle Ages.
One time, I happened by the "House of D," as nearly everyone called it, and heard an inmate bellowing down to someone gazing ten stories upward: "Big Ruby is Dead." Who was this Big Ruby person anyway, I wondered? How did she die? Whacked by another prisoner in a love triangle, iced by a guard? Was she even an inmate? Exactly how large was this Big Ruby person anyway? Nearly forty years later I still want to know the answer to these and many more questions.
Anytime of the day or night you could catch prisoners, and those down below on the sidewalk, shouting messages to each other.
One Christmas Eve I remember, dozens of prisoners from various floors serenaded busy shoppers and passersby with Irving Berlin's "White Christmas." We stopped and looked up at living Capra. Until! Reaching the final stanza, they rang out:
"And may all your Christmases be. . .
"BLAAAACKKKKK."
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The warm and fuzzy mood of the crowd below quickly shifted 180 degrees. I, on the other hand, found it mildly hilarious. And almost as memorable as the time a few Christmases ago when a (I found out later) suicide gunshot down the block here in L.A. triggered our coffee table, sound-activated singing Xmas tree.
Ker-blam! “Up on the rooftop, click click click. . ..” A South Central Christmas. I turned to David and Dondi-esquely enthused:
“Goshers, this is the bestest Christmas everrrr!

1 comment:

JoeM said...

Clearly the spirit of that suicide jumped into the singing Christmas Tree, a la Chucky.

I trust it's not around anymore...